Even if this is more diary than blog, I would like to put on record a concert that Paul Mansell and I played at ‘The Uke Room’ in Longhope, near Gloucester. The Uke Room is run by Matt Stead who teaches, runs an excellent ukulele shop as well as organising concerts and ukulele retreats. The location couldn’t be better! Beautiful rolling hills, stone cottages and superb views.
I’ve never met Matt until the day of the concert on 29th March 2020. He was a really friendly person and excellent musician. Our audience were lovely, enthusiastic ukulele fans.
Paul and I had put together a book of duets named ‘2kulele’ which has now been published by Kevin Mayhew. One of the purposes of the concert was to play everything in the book to see what people thought of it. We had a lot of really positive responses after the concert and quite a few books were sold. We even had several people asking us to sign the books, which was quite amazing!
Paul and I braved a solo spot each. Paul played an excellent medley of both traditional and modern pieces. I was determined to play the opening section of Jim Beloff’s The Dove Tale. I was nervous about it but was pleased with what came out. It feels very special to me as I know that this music has never been played by anyone in the UK before and only by Jim himself in the United States.
It was through Matt’s recommendation that Paul and I were asked to play at the Isle of Wight ukulele festival next year.
It was certainly a very long way for me to go from Crowborough but so worth it to meet so many nice people who seemed to enjoy what we played. Paul did all the driving, clocking up hundreds of miles in one day once we set off from his home in Northampton.
I have several advanced ukulele pupils in Crowborough and Tunbridge Wells now and I look forward to using our duet book in my lessons. There doesn’t appear to be any other ukulele duet book, so I am particularly pleased that we fulfilled our mission to fill that gap.